I've been privileged to be an actor, a teacher, a TV journalist, and a performance coach. Most of the time I've been working with other people's words. Now I'm finding my own words, to tell a remarkable story of despair, deception and discovery. Set against the backdrop of WWII, it’s the story my mother never told me about her abduction by the Nazis. It explains a lot... about her, about me, and also about another group of people victimized by the Nazis and largely forgotten by history.
My new book
A secret stash of old letters - all in Russian. A lifetime of secrets and lies. A birth father I never knew. At the age of 75, I decided it was time to discover the truth about my parents, my heritage... and myself. The answers included a girl lost to her parents at 17 and forced into slavery by the Nazis. My new book... The Golden Daughter.
Meet the characters in The Golden Daughter
Aniela Brik, my grandmother.
She died blaming herself for what happened to the child she called her 'Golden Daughter'.
Maria Brik, my mother.
Forced into slavery by the Nazis. Survivor of repeated bombing raids. Caught up in a love triangle.
Frank Uzarowski, my stepfather.
Polish resistance fighter. Always looking for ways to make money. Rarely succeeding.
Stanislaw Zebrowski, my father.
Survived six years in a prisoner-of-war camp. He disappeared when I was 4.
A discovery in Germany
I took a year out to research The Golden Daughter. I retraced my mother's path through Germany and Northern Ontario. In a German military base in Bad Reichenhall I made a discovery that took me back in time more than seven decades.
A discovery in Canada
After following in my mother's footsteps through Germany, it was time to do some research in Canada. I headed up to Northern Ontario. I wanted to find out what happened to my father, who disappeared from my life when I was four years old. My trip took me to a millionaire's mansion, and an unmarked grave.
Five million stories
The Golden Daughter is a story about my mother. But really it's a story about five million people just like her. The Ostarbeiters of World War 2. People from Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine and Poland. Some as young as 12. Forced to work as slaves in factories, farms and homes; fed starvation rations; treated as sub-human; made to wear the OST badge. And called collaborators if they went home. The forgotten victims of war.